Nine years later, Brophy gets rematch against Desert Vista - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Nine years later, Brophy gets rematch against Desert Vista

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Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2007 9:48 pm | Updated: 7:51 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Phoenix Desert Vista was cooked. Paradise Valley had a 17-10 lead and first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Less than five minutes remained in the game.

One more yard, and the Thunder’s undefeated season was done.

Paradise Valley never got that yard; stuffed on four consecutive downs.

After watching film the next day, P.V. assistant Donnie Yantis said the ball crossed the goal line twice on those four downs, but it was too late for revisions.

On the ensuing possession. Bobby Wade (pictured at right) took a swing pass 60 yards for a touchdown to forge a tie at the end of regulation, scored on the first play of overtime, and tipped away the Trojans’ fourth-down desperation rebuttal.

“It was sickening and spectacular to watch,” said Yantis, now the head coach at Paradise Valley.

That was the 1998 state quarterfinals. Somehow, Wade ended the playoffs even better than he began.

Nine years ago this weekend, the Thunder met Phoenix Brophy, just like the schools will meet Saturday in this year’s championship game, in one of the best state title games of the past decade.

Wade was the biggest reason.

The Broncos followed Paradise Valley’s lead and managed to slow the Thunder’s do-everything senior at the start.

“Slow” was the operative word against a guy who compiled 3,000 total yards and 41 touchdowns in 14 games, even though the Thunder did not score a touchdown in a Central Region win over Tempe Marcos de Niza.

Wade warmed up the chilly night at Sun Devil Stadium with 106 total yards on a second-quarter drive; a 45-yard kickoff return followed by a 61-yard touchdown catch on a first-and-32 play.

“The best I’d seen,” said former Thunder teammate Derek Kennard Jr., now an assistant under Dan Hinds. “He was a phenomenal athlete. A lot of games he put the team on himself and did his thing.”

In the second half, Wade scored again. And again. He ran, caught and returned. He briefly proved human with a muffed punt, then returned to his ways a few plays later when he blocked a Brophy field goal attempt.

“It was one of the best performances I’ve seen,” former Brophy coach Tim Sanford said. “He could do so many things with the ball.”

The Thunder came back from an early fourth-quarter deficit for the third time in the playoffs and Brophy’s offense never got its say late in a 38-31 Thunder thriller. Instead, Wade had his way.

His first touchdown run (second overall) with four minutes left in the fourth quarter was a dance in cleats, as he juked three separate Brophy defenders. Two minutes later, he broke a tackle up the middle and ran 30 yards untouched for the game-winning score.

“Big play after big play,” Kennard said.

Seemed only natural for Wade to end Brophy’s last drive with his second interception of the night. And the late-game magic was not unlike the Paradise Valley quarterfinal game, or a 20-16 victory in a “pigpen” of mud against Kingman in the semifinals.

“The playoffs set us up,” said Wade, now a receiver with the Minnesota Vikings. “We learned how to play from behind, which was something new. We’d played teams close in the season but had our way most of the time. We learned how to keep plugging away.”

Even if you didn’t watch him, Wade’s statistics were staggering: 383 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a blocked kick. Championship numbers that haven’t been matched since.

“I was excited to be on that stage at ASU,” Wade said. “It was big-time.”

COINCIDENCE?

Strange threads connect the 1998 Desert Vista-Brophy title game and this year’s game.

1998

•Brophy played its second championship game in three years.

•Brophy struggled with continuity and injuries until the playoffs.

•Brophy ended Mesa Mountain View’s run of dominance in the semifinals.

•Brophy was coached by Tim Sanford.

•Desert Vista won its state semifinals game in the mud against Kingman.

•Desert Vista’s Derek Kennard Jr. was a junior on the state title team.

2007

•Brophy is playing its second championship game in three years.

•Brophy struggled with continuity and injuries until the playoffs.

•Brophy ended Chandler Hamilton’s run of dominance in the semifinals.

•Brophy is coached by Scooter Molander, who was originally hired as an assistant by Sanford.

•Desert Vista won its state semifinals game in the mud against Mesa Red Mountain.

•Desert Vista’s Devon Kennard (Derek’s younger brother) is a junior.

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